Home gym equipment in short supply in Toronto as people look for workout options
Home gym equipment in Toronto is almost impossible to find right now as fitness brands struggle to keep up with demand as more people are looking for home workout options during the lockdown.
"When people call me there's nothing I can say," said Johanne Tummon, owner of Physical Assets Inc., a fitness equipment retailer in downtown Toronto. "Wait times to get a product are well into February, March, April, even May."
"[It's] been insane. There's no other way to put it. Demand is off the charts. Everybody wants something for home," added Jamie Crane, President of Dotmar Fitness Equipment, the longest standing specialty fitness equipment supplier in Ontario and one of the oldest in Canada.
Early in the pandemic with gyms locked down, health-conscious people in Toronto made alternate arrangements – doing YouTube workouts, joining classes held in parks, or buying exercise gear to use at home.
In fact, interest in home fitness gear went up 500% in 2020 and sales skyrocketed. Canadian Tire experienced triple digit growth in sporting goods and fitness equipment sales and companies like Peloton, Bowflex, and NordicTrack saw a massive sustained increase in sales, too.
"The whole world was looking for the same thing. Literally, globally all people were looking for the same thing and manufacturers couldn't keep up," Tummon told blogTO.
And even for commercial retailers like Dotmar who are still getting shipments weekly it was a challenge to keep products in stock.
"Demand far outweighs what we can bring in," said Crane.
The first thing to go was weight equipment, then spin bikes and rowing machines and now treadmills.
"80% of our calls are for treadmills," said Tummon, suggesting this might be in part due to snowbirds being grounded this season and needing somewhere to do their walking.
Crane told blogTO Dotmar Fitness doesn't have any cardio machines in stock and likely aren't going to have any until May.
Another reason for the shortage has to do with the supply chain, explained Tummon and Crane.
"What most manufacturers have done is they've stopped making 80% of their products. They've only been making 25% of their highest sellers," explained Crane.
But even for those products that are still being manufactured there are issues.
Take dumbbells for example. Almost all of the world's dumbbells (95%) are made in China but with lockdowns, factories couldn't open and products couldn't be made.
When they finally did reopen, manufacturing time plus shipping time meant it took months for products to make it to the retailers. Not to mention there were fewer workers doing the work.
"When you start at the factory and you have fewer staff and that goes right down the line," explained Tummon. "There's even shortages of containers for shipping things and the ports are backed up."
"In hindsight none of us saw it coming but it's also very hard to predict what is going to happen," she added, noting that the shortages don't look like they're going to be resolved any time soon either.
Crane is slightly more optimistic, though.
"I think you will start to see things get better by March or that's what we're hearing from our suppliers that stock might be getting back up by then," he said, advising that anyone who is on the hunt for equipment should get their name on multiple wait lists. If something becomes available, buy it right away since it likely won't be in stock for long.
For now, while Toronto waits patiently for gyms to reopen or equipment to come back in stock, it looks like many of us will be doing some old fashioned push-ups and sit-ups to get our sweat on.
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